RE: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind programmers

  • From: "Homme, James" <james.homme@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2011 07:26:31 -0400

Hi,
As someone already in the work place, I think it would be a good thing.

Jim

Jim Homme,
Usability Services,
Phone: 412-544-1810. Skype: jim.homme
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-----Original Message-----
From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Jared Wright
Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2011 4:29 PM
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind 
programmers

I also am inclined to agree with this. I'm just finished with school and
haven't gotten to see first hand just how much of an impact it will have
in the workforce, I admit, but I know I learned a lot about not just
programming but about working smoothly on a development team otherwise
made up of sighted developers by going to a "normal" university for
CompSci. My fear would be that in a special environment for blind
programming instruction all the tools used for class would be the most
accessible ones available. Then a student would get into the work force
with an employer who doesn't use those ideal accessible tools and the
student would be ill-equipped to problem solve this challenge. I think
having a vibrant, active community of blind coders working on things
like nonvisualdevelopment.org and contributing to forums like this one
is a great way to help address the unique challenges of being a blind
coder, but in the grand scheme of things I feel I spend about 10% of my
time devoted to programming and related pursuits finding blind-friendly
ways of using tools or environments. The other 90% is the same process
of learning programming that my sighted peers take on. I also do think
there would be issues with many employers disregarding or harboring
skepticism of applicants who listed a specialized school for blind
people on a resumé. Still, a good idea to kick around and get a variety
of prospectives on.
On 4/7/2011 3:23 PM, Sina Bahram wrote:
> I agree with this as well.
>
> Take care,
> Sina
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
> [mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Ken Perry
> Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2011 1:08 PM
> To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: RE: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind 
> programmers
>
> I have to say this even though I think there is a place for what you're
> thinking of.
>
> I hate sepertive schools.  One of the things that made me a good programmer
> was competing against the people I would be competing against in the work
> world In the academic world.
>
> The salt Lake community college had a class run by novel that taught blind
> people to code for Novel OS but I found the students that came out of their
> knew a single thing and not very well.
>
> Now with that said if the standards are high enough a school like this could
> be a good benefit but you have to be careful not to dumb down both the speed
> of learning or quality thereof.  Of course that is true for all schools.
>
> One last thing though that the regular schools taught me.  That is part of
> life as a blind coder is finding ways to cope with problems that you run
> into.  If you have things handed to you, you might not be as affective when
> you get out in the work world.
>
> Ken
>
> Ken
> -----Original Message-----
> From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Bill Cox
> Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2011 12:03 PM
> To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind
> programmers
>
> This is still in the dumb-idea phase, and I don't have any funding
> lined up to get this started.  That said...
>
> I have not been able to find any on-line school for teaching blind
> people to become professional programmers.  I feel the world needs
> such an organization.  I am not able to start such a school myself,
> but I would be interested in assisting social entrepreneurs in
> starting such a venture.  I it would best be implemented as a
> for-profit social entrepreneurial venture.  You can read about social
> entrepreneurs here:
>
> http://www.ashoka.org/social_entrepreneur
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_entrepreneurship
>
> I'm thinking it could be a Low Profit Corporation (LPC) founded to run
> the school for a profit.  Everyone hired in teaching or management
> would be vision impaired or blind.  Students would attend classes
> on-line, and could be anywhere in the world.  Classes would not be
> free (maybe $1,000 per 1-semester course?).  Students who are too poor
> to pay would be expected to do well in their courses and make up their
> fees by assisting teaching of those courses in later semesters.  They
> might also be required to work for an associated consulting company to
> earn tuition.  Students would be encouraged to help mentor each other
> in any case.
>
> Associated with the school could be a software consulting services
> company.  The company would only hire vision impaired programmers, and
> students wanting to work for the company could take classes designed
> to train them in the skills they'll need.  The company might encourage
> it's employees to spend one day a week on FOSS projects of their
> interest, which hopefully would include improving accessibility.
>
> Rough numbers to back up the idea:  There are around 15 million people
> with "severe" vision impairments in the US.  Roughly half of those
> people are too old.  Half of the rest may have other impairments that
> would prevent them from becoming programmers.  In the general
> population, there are 1 programmer out of every 500 people in the US.
> I would expect a ratio at least that high among the blind, or about
> 7,500 professional programmers in the US alone.  If we took 20 years
> to train that many, it'd be 375 new students per year, and assuming a
> two year program, we'd have 750 students.  If only half paid the class
> fees, but took three classes at a time (a full load), that'd be
> $3,000*750*2 = $4.5 million per year.  My kids go to a school which
> happens to have about 750 students and a budget of just over $4
> million per year, and that includes paying for a school.  So, that
> math seems to work out, but we're not talking about anyone making a
> billion dollars in this effort.  This is not a VC-fundable idea, but
> it might attract funding from groups that invest in socially
> beneficial startups.
>
> I know a couple of good candidates to start this school, and one might
> be interested in actually doing it.  Are there any good blind or
> vision impaired people you guys could recommend for me to talk to?  I
> think the key would be finding the right couple of guys.
>
> Thanks,
> Bill
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